With a global mix of flavors, our menu is perfect for adventurous cooks looking to break away from tradition
Rockwell-esque Thanksgiving dinner, serving up the same old turkey and trimmings year after year can get seriously tedious-especially for the cook.
So if you feel ready to veer from the well-trodden path of holidays past, we've put together a Thanksgiving menu like none you've ever seen before. Our centerpiece is roasted turkey marinated in a complex Mexican mole sauce and richly stuffed with masa harina, similar to what's pressed inside the corn husk wrapper of a tamale.
A sprinkling of Native American ingredients make apropos appearances as well. Sweet jícama adds crunch to a sprightly watercress and orange salad. Pine nuts get sautéed with elegantly slim haricots verts. Cranberries and zucchini are baked into tender mini-muffins. And chiles grace the table in the mole, stuffing, gravy, and a juicy pineapple and poblano salsa (standing in for cranberry sauce).
We've also borrowed appealing ingredients from across the globe, such as Spanish smoked paprika to enliven deep-fried chickpeas (for an addictive starter served alongside olives, radishes, and spiced nuts), and Scottish whisky to spike honey-gilded sweet potatoes.
For the lily-gilding, belt-loosening finale, we've completely eschewed the ubiquitous pecan-apple-pumpkin pie triumvirate in favor of a creamy flan paired with spiced poached quince, and a luscious chocolate cashew pie sweetened with maple syrup.
To highlight the complex flavors of this meal, drinks expert Linda Murphy has added suggestions for beers and wines to accompany each course. She's also included general flavor profiles in case you can't find the specific bottles mentioned.
And to help you get everything done smoothly, we've included a timeline that breaks down this complex meal into doable steps, spread out over a month.
Try this menu once, and you might find yourself hooked on some unexpected but eminently lovable new holiday traditions.
Up to 1 day ahead:
· Make pie; store at room temperature.
· Make salsa; refrigerate.
· Prepare mashed potatoes; refrigerate.
· Prep vegetables: Blanch haricots verts; clean and chop salad and stuffing ingredients.
· Before going to bed, rub turkey with marinade and refrigerate.
about 5 hours before dinner time
· Preheat oven to 450°F; prepare stuffing.
· Stuff turkey (transfer remaining stuffing to baking dish, cover, and refrigerate).
about 4 hours before dinner time
· Roast turkey.
· Defrost muffins.
· Chill white wine and beer. If desired, assemble ingredients for cocktails.
about 2 hours before dinner time
· Bake extra stuffing alongside turkey; keep warm, covered.
· Peel and cut sweet potatoes; refrigerate.
· Simmer honey-whiskey mixture for sweet potatoes; set aside.
· Fry chickpeas; assemble spiced nuts, olives, and radishes.
when guests arrive (about 1 1/2 hours before dinner time)
· If necessary, rewarm chickpeas; serve with spiced nuts, etc., and beer, wine, or cocktails.
when turkey is done (about 1 hour before dinner time
· Remove turkey from oven; reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
· If necessary, remove stuffing from turkey and microwave; cover and keep warm.
· Bake sweet potatoes; keep warm.
· Make gravy; keep warm.
· Sauté haricots verts; keep warm.
· Reheat mashed potatoes and shallot confit in microwave; keep warm.
· If desired, briefly reheat muffins.
· Assemble and dress salad; serve.
· Carve turkey and serve with side dishes.
· Remove flan and quince compote from refrigerator to come to room temperature during dinner.
· Make coffee and tea.
· Whip crème fraîche for pie.
· Serve desserts, coffee, and after-dinner drinks.
- Fried Chickpeas and Spiced Nuts with Olives and Radishes
- For hors d'oeuvres: smooth, gently hoppy ale, such as Full Sail Brewing Amber Ale ( Oregon )
- Orange, Jícama, and Watercress Salad
- For salad: slightly pungent, citrusy Sauvignon Blanc, such as 2007 Marlborough Villa Maria Cellar Selection ( New Zealand ) or 2006 Honig ( Napa Valley )
- Mole-Roasted Turkey with Masa Stuffing and Chile Gravy
- Pineapple and Roasted Poblano Salsa
- Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots
- Wildflower Honey and Whisky-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
- Crisp Haricots Verts with Pine Nuts
- Zucchini and Cranberry Mini-Muffins
- For entrées: full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel, such as 2005 Rosenblum Harris Kratka Vineyard ( Alexander Valley ) or 2005 Dashe ( Dry Creek Valley )
- Chocolate, Cashew, and Maple Pie (see below)
- Cream Cheese Flan with Quince Compote
- For desserts: sweet, caramelized tawny port, such as Dow's 10 Year Old
Chocolate, Cashew, and Maple Pie
Epicurious | November 2007
by Melissa Clark
yield: Makes 1 (9-inch) pie to serve 8 to 10
If pecan pie is a crowd pleaser at your Thanksgiving table, try this delectable chocolate and cashew variation.Ingredients
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
- 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 3 ounces bittersweet (at least 60% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted roasted cashews
- 2 (8-ounce) containers crème fraîche
- Special equipment: 9-inch glass or metal pie pan; pie weights or dried beans
In food processor, pulse flour and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and pulse or gently stir with fork until incorporated.
Squeeze small handful of dough: If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, pulsing or stirring until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface, gather into ball, and flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour. (Dough can be made ahead and frozen up to 1 week. Defrost in refrigerator before proceeding.)
On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 12-inch round, then transfer to pie pan. Trim edge, leaving 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang under and crimp edge decoratively. Prick bottom and side of shell all over with fork, then chill shell 30 minutes. (Shell can be assembled to this point ahead: Wrap entire pan well in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 week. Defrost in refrigerator before continuing.)
While shell chills, preheat oven to 425°F.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans, then bake until pastry is set and pale golden on rim, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until pale golden all over, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool on rack.
Make filling and bake pie:
In medium saucepan over moderately high heat, simmer maple syrup, uncovered, until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Carefully whisk in butter (mixture may splatter), then sugar and salt. Remove from heat and let cool to warm room temperature.
In medium bowl, whisk together eggs and brandy. Whisk egg mixture into cooled maple syrup mixture.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread chopped chocolate in even layer over bottom of prepared crust. Sprinkle nuts in second even layer, then pour filling over nuts. Bake until filling is puffed and center is just set, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. (Pie can be made up to 1 day ahead. Let cool, then cover loosely and store at room temperature.)
Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche until it holds soft peaks. Serve with pie.
Text and recipes by Melissa Clark; drink pairings chosen by Linda Murphy
Photo by Stephen Sullivan
MORE FROM EPICURIOUS.COM
Food News and Views From All Over
See 16 Recipes for Your Thanksgiving Day Feast
Perfect Pairings for Your Thanksgiving Feast
How-to Videos for All of Your Thanksgiving Needs
Five Creative Options, and Not a Turkey Among Them